Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> Letter to the Free Church of Glasgow, on the Subject of Slavery >> Page 111

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Page 111

Correspondence | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 111
classes, and, rising above them all, many more, com-
posed of men not a whit superior to themselves in any
of the endowments of nature, who yet in name, in
idea, and in fact, possess greater worldly privileges.
To what one of all these classes does genuine freedom
belong ? To the duke, who fawns upon the prince--
to the baron, who knuckles to the duke, or to the
commoner, who crouches to the baron ?
Doubtless you all boast of being ideally free ;
while the American citizen counts your freedom slavery,
and could not brook a state of existence in which he
daily encountered fellow mortals, acknowledged and
privileged as his superiors, solely by the accident of
birth. He, too, in turn, will boast of his freedom,
which might be just as little to your taste. I will not
pursue this topic farther. But I think you must admit
that there is not so much in a name ; and that ideal or
imputed freedom is a very uncertain source of happi-
ness.
You must also agree, that it would be a bold thing
for you or any one to undertake to solve the great
problem of good and evil—happiness happiness and misery, and
decide in what worldly condition man enjoys most, and
suffers least. Your profession calls on you to teach
that his true happiness is seldom found upon the
stormy sea of politics, or in the mad race of ambition,
in the pursuits of mammon, or the cares of hoarded
gain ; that, in short, the wealth and honors of this
world are to be despised and shunned. Will you then
say, that the slave must be wretched, because he is
debarred from them ? or because he does not indulge
in the dreams of philosophy, the wrangling of secta-
rians, or the soul-disturbing speculations of the skeptic ?